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An initial evaluation of fifty diverse lines of lentils (lens culinaris) for adaptation to South East Queensland

C.J. Birch1, A.B.C. Dobson1 and U. Myint Htay2

1 Queensland Agricultural College, Lawes, 4343
State Agricultural Institute, Pyinmana, Burma

Lentils are a minor legume crop but are important in certain regions as they have a protein content exceeding chickpea (1) and can be used as a human or animal food. The International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Syria is sponsoring lentil development - the project reported here is part of their global programme.


Fifty lines of lentils supplied by ICARDA were planted on 25th May I986, in plots of 3 rows 35 cm apart, 6 m long with 15 cm plant spacing. Data was collected included days to flower (IF) and maturity (TM), plant height (PLH), above ground dry matter at maturity (TDM), grain yield (GY), seed weight (SW), and protein content (%) of seed (PS). Only 40 lines were harvested, the rest having died because of cold stress and root diseases.

Results and discussion

Table 1. Range, median and significant (P = 0.05) correlations of characteristics of lentils.

The lentils flowered earlier (up to 60 days) and were shorter (up to 13 cm) than at ICARDA (2,3). The early flowering, probably due to relatively high temperatures and longer daylength than at ICARDA would result in smaller plants. Grain yield was comparatively low because of the small plant size and low plant population (44 m-2), compared to populations of 350 - 400 m-2 for high yield (4). Cluster analysis revealed eight accessions with desirable characteristics (short season - 116 days to maturity, relatively high grain yield - mean 382 kg ha-1 and moderate protein content - mean 26.7%), two accessions being from India (2501, 2580) and the others (5698, 5700, 5720, 5730, 5752, 5753) from ICARDA. The data give a useful guide to adaptation to South East Queensland, and further work should be limited to the eight listed accessions plus a high yielding (1 675 kg ha-1) accession (4605) from Argentina.

1. Abu-Sharka, S. and Tennosus, R.I. (1981). In "Lentils", Ed. C. Webb and G. Hawtin, ICARDA/CAB.

2. Erskine, W. (1984). In "Genetic Resources and Their Exploitation -Chickpeas, Fababeans and Lentils". ICARDA.

3. Saxena, M.C. and Hawtin, G.C. (1981). In "Lentils", Ed. C. Webb and G. Hawtin, ICARDA/CAB.

4. Slickard, A.E. (1976). Lens, 3; 32-33.

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